The most talked about non-candidate
For someone who apparently isn’t on the radar of the Cleveland Browns in their coaching search, Jim Tressel’s name sure surfaces a lot.
Most of us have seen the video of the three girls making a plea for the Browns to give the former Ohio State coach a chance. The idea seemed to be that if the facts presented didn’t win over team management, then the cuteness factor might.
The girls and the parents behind the scenes miscalculated one important factor – the Browns management team isn’t a warm, fuzzy bunch. Ponytails and plaudits won’t work with these guys.
Rob Chudzinski wasn’t the only employee to lose his job in recent weeks. There have been other changes behind the scenes that have disrupted the lives of those involved while having absolutely no impact on winning and losing.
Nothing is ever stable at team headquarters, which shouldn’t be surprising for a franchise that’s known nothing but losing for most of the last 15 seasons. To think that the situation will stabilize any time soon would be foolish.
If you’re on board with the legion of Tressel fans who want the Browns to grant him an interview, then you must believe that he would bring that much-needed stability. That’s a stretch, at best, given the organization’s quick-trigger track record.
There’s one thing that Tressel supporters need to understand – he’s not wanted. If there had been any interest on the end of the Browns, he would have had his interview by now.
Tressel’s inactivity on the sidelines since resigning as Ohio State’s coach in May of 2011 has to concern any pro or college team that might have an interest. Another issue could be that owner James Haslam, CEO Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi simply view Tressel as a college coach who won with superior talent and not innovation during successful tenures at Youngstown State and OSU.
There could be another factor in play. Tressel has developed many detractors since his controversial departure from Ohio State, but they are far outnumbered by those who support him. There’s no office space waiting in Berea for a coach with that type of popularity as long as certain people are running the show.
Can you imagine the fan reaction that would follow the firing of Tressel? There was outrage when Chudzinski was fired, but most of it was directed at the absurdity of the action. It wasn’t like the fans had a strong emotional attachment to Chudzinski.
To fire Tressel would be like pulling on Superman’s cape. You wouldn’t dare do it unless you have no plans of being seen in public for a long time, a trick Lombardi has perfected.
Lombardi remembers all too well the fallout from the decision to cut popular quarterback Bernie Kosar midway through the 1993 season. He was director of player personnel at the time, which meant his hands were on the decision almost as much as were the hands of owner Art Modell and coach Bill Belichick.
Lombardi has been considered a villain by most fans since then. The mere mention of his name as a candidate to become general manager near the end of the 2012 season sparked the ire of many fans. Adding a coach with Tressel’s cachet would highlight the good versus evil comparison between Tressel and Lombardi.
That’s why Lombardi needs to hire a coach who is as far from being an area icon as possible, which probably means an offensive coordinator like Denver’s Adam Gase.
Another job requirement is probably having the ability to listen (i.e. take orders from Lombardi and Banner). They don’t dare want a coach that is too head strong and full of opinions who might be opposite their lines of thoughts.
Like a Jim Tressel.